Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

The music book at the organ in the church of St. Burchardi in Halberstadt, Germany. Photo: Jens Wolf/picture alliance via Getty Images

Hundreds of people assembled at a church in Germany on Sept. 5 to hear an organ change chord.

The big picture: The organ at the church of St. Buchardi is playing the composer John Cage's Organ/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible), which is meant to take 639 years — so long that last week's chord change was the first in nearly seven years.

How it works: The performance began on Sept. 5, 2001, on the avant-garde composer's 89th birthday.

  • True to its title, the composition is meant to be played incredibly slowly — so slowly, in fact, that the rest Cage wrote to begin the performance was so long that the first actual organ pipe chords weren't heard until Feb. 5, 2003.
  • A compressor in the church's basement blows air into the organ to create continuous sound, though when a chord change occurs — like on Sept. 5 — it's done manually.
  • At its current rate of performance, the piece will conclude in the year 2640.

Details: You can see and listen to the chord change here.

Context: The very conception of the piece is a hopeful one, that despite the existential challenges of modern life there will still be human beings to play the composition and listen to the organ hundreds of years into the future.

  • The same spirit animates other futurist monuments like the 10,000-Year Clock, which is being built by the Long Now Foundation in a mountain in Texas. The clock is designed to tick for 10 millennia, its chimes occasionally ringing with a new melody.

What to listen to: The next chord change at St. Buchardi is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2022. Book your tickets now.

Go deeper

Philanthropy Deep Dive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A look at how philanthropy is evolving (and why Dolly Parton deserves a Medal of Freedom).

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
7 hours ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months: